Almost all food and beverage wholesalers need to invoice their customers for products sold. It’s a task that is necessary for running and growing a business. However, generating paper invoices isn’t the best way to do this - especially if you have a large retailer base. It requires a lot of time and can also be costly.
This is why introducing a digital solution is critical for the future of your business. Ditching the ‘old-school’ paper invoices and moving to e-invoicing will not only make your work life easier, it will also improve your efficiency so you can get more things done.
What are e-invoices?
E-invoices or electronic invoices are simply digital versions of traditional paper invoices. They include all the information that you show in your paper invoices - from the breakdown of the products sold and the pricing to the payment options and the customer’s shipping address. Usually, they are sent via email or through online accounting tools.
How can they improve your efficiency?
Firstly, e-invoices are done online. This means you no longer have to manually create, print, and mail them to your customers on a regular basis. Processing invoices is one of the most time-consuming tasks of any food wholesale business. So moving them online can save you an enormous amount of time, which you can then spend on other things that are equally important.
Secondly, e-invoices are delivered to your customer much faster than the paper versions. They will receive their invoices immediately which eliminates the need to respond to enquiries about their invoice status and it also means you'll get paid faster as your invoice appears in their system immediately too.
Thirdly, e-invoices can be sent from nearly anywhere. Since they are online, you can access your relevant data and email your invoices whether you’re in your shop or on the road. This not only saves you time but you can also make use of all your available working time.
Lastly, e-invoices are accurate. Any sort of manual data entry is prone to errors but with electronic invoices this can be eliminated. Your data integrates with your system in real-time, which means you can finally bid goodbye to reviewing invoices and trying to find and fix data mistakes.
How can you start sending electronic invoices?
There are two ways to begin e-invoicing your customers.
1. You can send your invoices in PDF format. This will also eliminate the need for you to print, file, and mail your invoices manually to your customers. Most B2B customers today already have PDF readers, like Adobe Acrobat, in place so it will be easy for them to view the e-invoices you’ve sent.
Bear in mind, though that creating invoices using PDF still requires a bit of a manual work. They are similar to spreadsheets wherein you still have to calculate your data manually and then type them into your PDF template.
So, if you really want to take the manual work off your plate and automate your entire invoicing process, we recommend going for our second option:
2. Use an e-invoicing application or an accounting system. Today’s accounting systems can do the complex paperwork and send professional-looking e-invoices for you. They have pre-made invoice templates that you can just customise or update so you no longer have to generate one from scratch. What's more, you can individually schedule sending these invoices to the relevant customers, saving you a huge amount of time.
MYOB is best known for sending invoices quickly via email and giving you the power to track and monitor them. You can see who has opened your invoices and when. In addition, thanks to MYOB’s mobile app, you can also create and send invoices from your tablet or smartphone.
Xero, on the other hand, is the software to go to if you want personalised invoices and automatic reminders. It can send out invoice reminders to your customers so you can take that tedious admin task off your plate. Electronic invoices from Xero also have a “Pay Now” button that allows your customers to pay you straight from the invoice. Again, this reduces the time you need to spend calling customers and chasing late payments.
Processing paper invoices is labour-intensive and time-consuming work that is inherently inefficient. By transitioning to e-invoicing, you can reap a lot of benefits that not only streamline your operational processes but can also help your bottom-line. You can save time as e-invoicing eliminates the need to create and mail invoices manually and you can streamline your workflow since it automates your invoicing process.
Electronic invoicing can absolutely make you more efficient and as it's a simple change to make there is no doubt that your competitors would already have this set this up within their own businesses. That's why we think it makes good business sense to invest in an e-invoicing system so you can stay competitive.
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